Sympathy for the Other: Female solidarity and postcolonial subjectivity in Francophone cinema
Van de Peer, Stefanie
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Scott, K. & Van de Peer, S. (2016) Sympathy for the Other: Female solidarity and postcolonial subjectivity in Francophone cinema. Film-Philosophy, 20 (1), pp.168-194.
In this article we explore how female sympathy and solidarity can be forged between transnational subjects and spectators. In particular, we place cinematic depictions of minority female suffering in the contexts of current feminist and postcolonial praxes. The aim is to demonstrate the ways in which world cinema can produce a transnational feminist solidarity through forms and narratives that reflect the experiences of women as gendered postcolonial subjects. Amongst the female and feminist theorists drawn upon, central to our understanding of a transnational feminist solidarity is Sandra Lee Bartky's ‘mitgefühl’ (feeling-with). From this understanding we suggest bonds of sympathetic solidarity between audiences and diegetic female subjects that bridge their ontological separation, without conflating the two, in relation to Rachida (Yamina Bachir Chouikh, 2002) and Frontière(s) (Xavier Gens, 2007). In combining film-philosophy, cinematic affect and feminist theory we formulate a radically new way of understanding and envisioning the construction of female suffering onscreen: as a means of producing transnational forms of spectator solidarity.